Non-technical founders:

close your first customers,
raise seed capital,
and kickstart development
—in just 1 week.

and learn how to avoid losing $100K to shady partners in the process.

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25+ products built & launched.
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  • Franklin Templeton
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  • Sorenson
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Supported $650M+ in fundraising from top VCs

Loper

Eric Menna
& Sam Bernstein

Signed their first customer contract during development using this process.

“We’ve got more done in the last 4 hours than Sam and I have achieved in the past couple of weeks”

Eric

“I wish we did something like this a couple of months ago.”

Sam

“We’ve had ideas flowing for so many months—now that we finally get to put them on paper it feels good.”

Mason

“I’m on FIRE”

Taylor

Blueverse

Mason, Alec, Taylor & Drew

Closed a 6-figure seed round with roadmap built using this process.

Heyway

Shirley Vega
& Tyler Rasch

Reduced their expected development costs by 50% using this process.

“Working with you was perfect because you had that outside of the box thinking and you could better organize the thoughts we had. Something that we would discuss for hours—for days, in less than 2 weeks we were able to reach that level of detail with you guys.”

Shirley

Ready to get started?

Are you a founder of a technical startup, but you don’t have the skills to build it yourself?

Building a startup as a non-technical founder
is like playing on hard mode.

You've got no shortage of Vision. But you can't build that Vision yourself.
You need two things to get it built: Nerds to build your idea, and Money to pay those nerds.

We'll talk about finding the right Nerds later. For now, let's focus on funding.

You have two options:

Raise capital.

The current fundraising environment is not in your favor. Unicorns are getting decimated. Big tech layoffs have begun. VCs are responding by slowing investment.

If you want to raise money as a non-technical founder in 2022, you have to demonstrate traction. Progress. Real metrics that show people will buy what you're selling.

A real plan that shows how you're going to use investment to accelerate those sales. But that means having *something* to sell, which brings us back to square one: how to you get this built?

Bootstrap with your own money.

You could forego fundraising and bootstrap: start with a small personal investment, build towards revenue and reinvest that revenue into the business.

Starting out, this may be your only option. But costs hit different when you're the one paying. It's easy to "move fast and break things" when you're not the one paying the bills.

If you're going to self-fund, you want to make sure that every last dime you spend is moving you towards revenue, and ultimately towards profitability.

Either way, you only have one goal as a non-technical founder.

Spend as little as possible to get something out the door. Generate sales with that something. Use those sales to fund your business or to pursue investment.

But how do you do that as a non-technical founder?

On this page, you'll learn the process we've used with 25+ clients to turn their visions into sellable offers in just 1 week.

You'll learn how you can handle this process yourself, and what options are out there for getting support when and where you need it.

You'll see examples of founders who succeeded with this process, and learn how to avoid some of the errors that costed others $100K+

OKAY,
BUT WHO ARE WE?

I’m James Knight

Founder and Chief Nerd of No Nerds No Problem.

I’ve earned my Nerd stripes: I have an undergraduate degree in Mathematics, studied for my Masters in Computer Science at Georgia Tech, and started my career in robotics at Romotive (now Zipline).

Since leaving Google in 2015 and starting my startup consulting agency, I’ve grown this company to 10+ nerds across 4 different countries, been featured in Bloomberg, and have helped more than 25 companies launch their MVPs and raise a combined $650M in fundraising.

And I’m going to show you how to do the same.

Ready to get started?

going from
vision -> product
is about answering the
Five Questions

who

is our customer?

why

will they care?

what

are we bulding?

how

are we bulding it?

when

will it be done?

we’re going to answer those questions in 3 separate phases:

1.

Define your Spec Offer → Answering Who & Why.

Old Way Define your Spec

  • Start w/ Idea
  • Research the marketplace.
  • Talk to potential customers.
  • Use feedback to refine concept.
  • Build a “spec”.

Old Results

  • Cargo Culting
  • Fake feedback
  • Design by committee.
  • Product defined by “features”

35% of funded startups fail because of “No Market Need”.

Quibi

$1.7B spent building content & product.

Shut down 8 months after launch.

Define your offer, validate WHO your customer is and WHY they want your product, then scope your product to deliver the value in that offer.

New Way Define your Offer

  • Lean Startup MVP - the minimal amount of work required to SELL.
  • Storymapping - what story is your offer telling?
  • Build sales materials (prototype, proof of concept, landing page, etc.)
  • Take that offer to real customers.
  • Sell and get real feedback.

New Results

  • We only build what we’ve validated
  • Real feedback—money talks
  • Problems defined by the customer, solutions designed by you.
  • Product defined by Customer Outcome, not a list of features.

Examples

Loper Concierge Prototype

  • Initial customer feedback and seed funding off a “concierge prototype.

52Fables Landing Page

  • 1-hour landing page, $100 in ads, 30 sign-ups in 24 hours.

Kickstarter

  • $6.5B in offers.

Ready to define your offer?

2.

Describe w/ Design Story → Answering What.

Old Way Describe w/ Design

  • Take a “spec” to designers.
  • Compare spec to “benchmark” competitors.
  • Designers deliver something “sexy”.
  • Final designs are taken to developers.

Old Results

  • Old Results
  • Incomplete designs
  • Designs are made impractical or impossible to develop
  • Product is poorly defined.

The average software project has a 66% cost overrun and a 33% schedule overrun.

Self-Portrait Project

3 years spent in design with nothing to show.

See how we turned it around

Describe your product by starting with story and designing after.

New Way Describe w/ Story

  • Storymapping - What story is your product telling?
  • Focus on product not design, storyboards first.
  • Include technical input in the revision process.
  • Visuals comes last.

New Results

  • Function over Form
  • Our product is complete
  • Designs are possible and practical to develop

Examples

Heyway

  • ~$100K estimate reduced to $53K
  • Product delivered on time, w/ no timeline or budget overrun.

Ready to describe your product?

3.

Plan via Proposals Roadmapping → Answering How & When.

Old Way Plan via Proposals

  • Source technical partners.
  • Have those partners put together a “proposal.”
  • Compare “proposals” and select the one that looks best.

Old Results

  • Proposals are worthless
  • Estimates are based on what the proposer thinks you can afford
  • Timelines are organized around what’s easiest not what’s critical.

38% of funded startups fail because they “ran out of cash”.

Knowhere

Development team built 80% of product but couldn’t complete the final 20%.

$100K+ spent on a product that didn’t work.

See how we turned it around

Plan development through collaborative roadmapping, avoiding worthless proposals and building an accurate timeline and estimate for your project.

New Way Plan w/ Roadmapping

  • Storymapping - What story are your features telling?
  • Involve technical partners and have them architect.
  • Plan our project around the parts that are business critical or most challenging.
  • Plan releases around business milestones

New Results

  • Proposals are valuable
  • Timelines are accurate
  • Roadmaps align with business needs
  • We get a chance to vet our technical partner(s)

Examples

Blueverse

  • Closed a 6-figure seed round using this design prototype.
  • Went into development immediately after round closed.

Ready to roadmap towards launch?

going from
vision -> product
the right way

Lean into what makes you a founder—your vision—and let your business define your product and not the other way around.

1.
Define your OFFER, not a SPEC

Validate WHO your customer is and WHY they want your product with a testable offer, not a list of features nobody cares about.

2.
Describe with STORY, not DESIGN

Start with storymapping to build complete products, not sexy but impossible designs.

3.
Plan with ROADMAPPING, not PROPOSALS

Collaborate with partners to develop accurate timelines and estimates, not worthless proposals.

OKAY,
BUT HOW?

Option 1

Do it yourself

pros

Save money
Buy a handful of books, teach yourself, do the work.


Retain total control
You control the process, you control the vision.


Learn a lot
Building an offer, coordinating between designers and developers, and putting together a roadmap—it’s like a mini-MBA program for startups.

cons

Lose time
The more you do yourself the less time you have for other things.

Risk tunnel vision
Controlling everything yourself means missing out on second opinions and diverse viewpoints.

Lose out on existing expertise
You can’t know everything about everything, leaning on experts can give you a boost when you need one most.

Option 2

Take a course/join a cohort

pros

Save *some* money
Spend $500-2K and save the rest for design & development.


Learn from experienced facilitators.
Sprints are hard. Learning from people who have done hundreds means avoiding time (and money) wasting mistakes.


Join a community of like-minded people
It's lonely at the top—courses and cohorts can be a great place to meet other non-technical founders, people experiencing the same challenges you are.

cons

Courses take time
Expect to spend 4+ weeks learning before you're ready to run a sprint.


You still have to execute
So you know how to run a Sprint. But you still have to execute. That prototype isn't going to design itself.

Option 3

Work with professional facilitators

pros

Out of the box
Bring your brain and strap in for the ride. Your facilitators know what to do.

Access incredible expertise
Professional partners give you access to some of the greatest product, design, and development minds in the business. That's value you can't compute.

cons

Can be *wildly* expensive.
Partners like AJ&Smart or Design Sprint LTD charge $20K+ for a single week. That's a lot of money that could go towards design & development.

Option 4

Work with us

NO NERDS NO PROBLEM
helps non-technical founders
manage their tech so you can
focus on growth.*

Obsessed with helping non-technical founders building early-stage startups.

With 30+ products launched, we work exclusively with brilliant non-technical founders who just need help managing the tech side of their startup.

Dedicated technical partner from validating your offer through to IPO.

We act as your “cofounder-for-hire,” with our leadership present at all times.

International, in-house team balances cost and quality.

We’re not an agency—all of our designers & developers are in-house working from the same virtual “office”.

FOUNDERS
WHO HAVE SUCCEEDED

Loper

Eric Menna & Sam Bernstein

Signed their first customer contract during development using this process.

Before

  • Existing concierge prototype.
  • Large scale vision but having trouble converting that into a plan.
  • Planning on using another firm for development but interested in Product & Design.

After

  • Full design and roadmap developed in just 2 weeks.
  • Started development with us on Monday.
  • Closed initial deal during development using ongoing deliveries.

Loper

Eric Menna & Sam Bernstein

We’ve got more done in the last 4 hours than Sam and I have achieved in the past couple of weeks.

Eric

I wish we did something like this a couple of months ago.

Sam

Blueverse

Mason, Alec, Taylor & Drew

Closed 6-figure seed round with our roadmap.

Before

  • “Product” consisted of 2-page Word document.
  • Enormous vision.
  • No experience, no funding.

After

  • Full sales prototype after 1 week.
  • Full product design after 3 weeks.
  • Closed a 6-figure seed round off of Roadmap alone.

Blueverse

Mason, Alec, Taylor & Drew

“I’m on FIRE.”

Taylor

We’ve had ideas flowing for so many months—now that we finally get to put them on paper it feels good.

Mason

Heyway

Shirley Vega & Tyler Rasch

Reduced their expected development costs by 50% using this process.

Before

  • Idea for a product coming from their existing consulting practice.
  • No experience with product development or startups.
  • Initial quotes from other agencies $90-100K.

After

  • Organized entire existing supply process into a customer map.
  • Identified where in that map our product fit.
  • Final quote ~50% of other partners.

Heyway

Shirley Vega & Tyler Rasch

Working with you was perfect because you had that outside of the box thinking and you could better organize the thoughts we had. Something that we would discuss for hours—for days, in less than 2 weeks we were able to reach that level of detail with you guys.

Shirley

Ready to get started?

What’s going to happen
during this process?

Sell first, build after

You’re going to go from idea to sellable offer in just one week. That’s everything you need to start selling customers, or even raise seed capital.

Story first, design next

We’re going to take that offer and turn it into a high-level Product Story and fully clickable wireframe prototype one week later. That includes every little feature we need to develop to get you to launch.

Roadmap, don’t request proposals

We’re going to wrap that clickable prototype in a sexy design, have our development team research what it’s going to take to make it work, and build a full development roadmap, complete with an exact timeline and a guaranteed cost estimate.

What does this process
look like?

week 1.

Define your Offer ->

On Your Own
Research Your Idea
Show it off to friends and family.
Build a list of features and hope for the best.

With No Nerds
2 day intensive workshop.
Build your “Offer” Story, describing how your customers will encounter and acquire your product.
A landing page to generate interest.
A sales prototype that demos that offer.
3-5 real customer interviews.

Examples
1-Week Offer Workshop
Interviews & HMWs
Long Term Goals & Sprint Questions
The Map
The Storyboard
The Prototype

week 2.

Describe your product ->

On Your Own
Take list of features to designers.
Define features based on “benchmark” competitors.
Create a sexy design and hope your devs can build it.

With No Nerds
1-2 day intensive workshop.
“Product” Story, describing how your customers will onboard and receive value from your product.
“Wireflows” laying out all the paths your customers can take.
A clickable wireframe prototype, reviewed by our tech team for feasibility.

Examples
The Map Strikes Back
The Flows
The Frames
The Wireframe Prototype

week 3.

Plan your launch ->

On Your Own
Developers review spec & designs, come up with ballpark timeline.
Devs plan the project around what’s easiest to deliver first.
Devs deliver an “estimate” with no guarantee.

With No Nerds
1-2 days of intensive sessions.
Full product backlog, including every “Use Story” involved in your product.
Full design for getting your product to launch.
Technical analysis document.
Week-by-week timeline.
Guaranteed cost quote.

Examples
The Designs
The Research
The Timeline
The Estimate
The Roadmap

Offer

  • 2-day intensive workshop
  • “Offer” Storymap
  • Sales Prototype

Value: $20K

Cost: $4K

Product

  • 1-day Storymapping Session
  • “Product” Storymap
  • Full Product Backlog

Value: $4K

Cost: $1K

Roadmap

  • 1-day Roadmapping Session
  • Timeline & Roadmap
  • Guaranteed Cost Estimate

Value: $4K

Cost: $1K

Total Value: $28K

Total Cost: $6K

Final Price: $4K

(Contact us for custom pricing)

still need convincing? how about this:

If you aren’t happy with our work, we’ll refund 100% of our fees,
no questions asked.

Kickstart your offer today.